Join 3,433 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Mystery (to me) Bird
June 25, 2010 10:16 PM   Subscribe

What is this sea bird?

I don't remember ever seeing this kind of bird before, at the beach I've spent a lot of time at over the years, just south of Boston. There's no oil in the area at all, they're just drying their wings it looks like. They're maybe twice the size of the ubiquitous white-and-grey gulls. What are they? I'm wondering if they're out of their usual range.
posted by longsleeves to Pets & Animals (6 answers total)
 
Those are cormorants.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:17 PM on June 25, 2010


Yes, Cormorants. This behavior is quite typical and has nothing to do with oil.
posted by special-k at 10:20 PM on June 25, 2010


yes, cormorants. the 'drying their wings' thing is the big tip-off there (other than the picture). it's just something that they are known for.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 10:21 PM on June 25, 2010


Yep, cormorants, probably double-crested cormorants. The wing-drying thing is related to their plumage: cormorants' feathers aren't entirely waterproof, so they can dive faster, but they also need to dry out their wings afterwards.
posted by Catseye at 1:18 AM on June 26, 2010


I believe they lack the same oil as other sea birds that keep them dry. It allows them to be less buoyant and are therefore able to dive farther for food.
posted by ljesse at 1:25 AM on June 26, 2010


Wow, cool, a cormorant! As soon as I saw your picture, I thought of watching men fishing with cormorants near Yangshao.
posted by jeanmari at 6:20 AM on June 26, 2010


« Older I find myself haunted by guilt...   |  [Seattle / Tacoma Filter] What... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.